My intention is not to raise eyebrows, stir the pot, or start any type of mudslinging. I simply would like you personally to ponder your  daily habits. Are you doing your share to recycle?  Seriously and truthfully, are you doing anything at all? If so, could you do more?

Seven years ago I hopped the pond to Lillehammer, Norway. You know the charming little town David Letterman sent his mother to play  sports commentator from during the 1994 Winter Olympics. She was cute, entertaining, and seemed to enjoy the friendly Norwegian culture.

Well, it is one thing to visit this picturesque place, but to live here with my Norwegian husband and three children takes adjusting. Obviously there was a new language to learn, different money to get used to, and a winter brutal enough to send any Florida girl to the nut house. The school system is unlike anything I have experienced, and living with the metric system alone has given me enough blog material to post for centuries to come. But the biggest challenge for me has been adapting to the EXTREME RECYCLING this community enforces.

Bottle/can returns located in every Lillehammer grocery store.

I had always made efforts. When living in Foxborough, MA we were quick to jump on the recycling bandwagon as soon as our local trash company offered sorting containers and curbside pick-up. It cost extra to recycle, and although that didn´t seem right, we wanted to do our part. A relocation to Franklin, TN offered similar recycling conveniences. The fees were taken out of our taxes, so the expense didn´t seem as annoying, but we had to drive our diverse sorting to drop-offs located outside grocery stores.

None of this prepared me for Lillehammer. I sort on a daily basis: plastic, paper, glass, metal, batteries, electronics, lightbulbs, aluminum cans, and food. Yes food; garbage disposals, something I was used to, are illegal here. Our local landfill uses recycled food to make electricity.

Our bottle/can return machines allow you the option to gamble your deposit in a lottery. All losses go to the Red Cross.

I´ll get to the point. EXTREME RECYCLING was an adjustment, but I have evidently gotten used to it. I recently returned from a trip stateside where I was shocked and saddened by the waste. So I ask you, are you honestly doing your share?

Before you answer with I would love to, but our community doesn´t provide recycling opportunities, keep in mind the generation before us recycled before they knew what recycling was. They returned milk and soda bottles for reuse, newspaper was reused as gift wrapping, paper towels, package stuffing, chicken cage liners, and a host of other things. Diapers were washed and reused because disposables were nonexistent, clothes were hung on a line because there were no dryers, and if they had a car, they used it wisely.

One last thing. Before you say, but Kim it´s not the same, remember the generation following us is paying attention. They learn from your daily habits. Now run in the other room and turn off the TV no one is watching, then think about how you can do more to recycle than you are doing today.

Read A Cup of Norwegian Humili-tea to learn how much of a Metric System dork I can be!